15.22.02.11

.11 Handling and Processing Organic Commodities.

A. A processor, packager, manufacturer, or distributor shall handle organic products in accordance with the approved organic handling plan and shall comply with the requirements of §§B—E of this regulation.

B. Cleaning and Processing.

(1) A processor, packager, manufacturer, or distributor shall ensure that:

(a) Commodities certified by the Department meet all other applicable United States, Maryland, and local government specifications, inspection standards, and health regulations;

(b) Before packaging or processing, all commodities are mechanically cleaned to remove used seeds, stones, straws, insects, dust, metal, dirt, and other foreign material in accordance with applicable federal standards;

(c) Processing facilities meet all other applicable federal, State, and local health requirements; and

(d) Processed flour does not exceed 43C as it leaves the milling process.

(2) A processor may only process products using:

(a) Freezing, drying, vacuum packing, heat processing, centrifuging, filtering, or wood smoking if the wood has not been treated with synthetic chemicals; and

(b) Stainless steel, glass, or food-grade plastic utensils and containers.

(3) A processor may not process products using:

(a) Aluminum containers or aluminum utensils; or

(b) Ionizing radiation.

C. Raw Ingredients and Additives.

(1) A processor, packager, manufacturer, or distributor shall:

(a) Use primary ingredients from a certified organic source in any processed product sold, with the primary ingredients comprising at least 95 percent of the final product by weight or volume, excluding water and salt; and

(b) Specify on each label secondary ingredients from other sources.

(2) A processed product sold by a processor, packager, manufacturer, distributor, or retailer as certified organic may include:

(a) Only ingredients from certified organic sources, except ingredients that are not agricultural products, such as salt or wild or uncultivated products;

(b) Wild crops, provided they are managed by an organic farm plan which:

(i) Designates the area from which the wild crop will be gathered or harvested,

(ii) Includes a 3-year history of the management of the area showing that any substance prohibited by this subtitle has not been applied,

(iii) Includes a plan for the harvesting or gathering of the wild crops, assuring that this harvesting or gathering is not destructive to the environment and will sustain the growth and production of the wild crop, and

(iv) Includes provisions that the producer may not apply any substance prohibited by this subtitle;

(c) Yeasts or other microbial cultures; or

(d) Minimal levels of natural sweeteners or salt.

(3) A processed product sold by a processor, packager, manufacturer, distributor, or retailer as organic may include the following secondary ingredients, if approved by the Department, based on a claim that these ingredients are necessary to preserve or to enhance the product:

(a) Natural sweeteners or salt, including organically produced honey, maple syrup, or other natural sweeteners, in an amount greater than that necessary for processing;

(b) Natural preservatives, coloring agents, or other additives, such as natural ascorbic acid or beet juice;

(c) Thickeners, including pectins, or gelatins; or

(d) Carob gum, guar gum, potato starch, corn starch, or carrageenan.

(4) A processed product sold by a processor, packager, manufacturer, distributor, or retailer as certified organic may not include:

(a) Synthetic preservatives, coloring, flavoring, texturizers, emulsifiers, or additives of any kind;

(b) Ingredients containing sulfites, nitrites, nitrates, microelements, heavy metals, or toxic residues; or

(c) Water that does not meet all federal Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.

D. Packaging of Organic Commodities.

(1) Packaging material for organic commodities shall be free of fungicides, preservatives, or other chemical additives. Plastics subject to depolymerization may not be used as packaging material.

(2) Milled products shall indicate the lot number and the date of processing shown as a Julian date.

E. Storage and Transportation. A producer, processor, distributor, or retailer:

(1) May not use any packaging materials, storage containers, or bins that contain synthetic fungicides, preservatives, or fumigants;

(2) May not use any bag or container that previously had been in contact with any substance in such a manner as to compromise the organic quality of the product;

(3) Shall provide reused containers with protective liners as approved by the Department;

(4) Shall protect from birds, rodents, and other pests areas for storage of organic commodities; and

(5) May use diatomaceous earth, bacillus thuringiensis, pheromones, or other natural biological controls in storage areas or during transportation.